Sep 12, 2019 09:09 UTC

Britons have surely understood that the economic and political freedoms they had been promised, and had hoped for during the 2016 Brexit vote, have been bastardized into a future of uncertainty under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s push for a no-deal Brexit.

Government workers have also realized that budgets have been slashed under austerity while coupled with a rise in demand for services, and the outlook is further worsened by the impending Brexit chaos.

The following is an article in this regard under the heading: “What are the risks of a no-deal Brexit?” This article has appeared on the FrontPage of the Iranian English language website Press TV.

There appears to be no end to gloomy stories about the immediate consequences of a no-deal Brexit. In the latest prediction, retailers have warned of shortages of fresh food resulting in price rises.

The consequences of a no-deal Brexit are not just confined to Britain. The Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Leo Varadkar, has tried to reassure the Irish public about the implications of a no-deal Brexit, claiming that it would not trigger recession nor necessitate the return of austerity.

Media scaremongering aside, what are the real risks of a no-deal Brexit? Most of the reliable information can be gleaned from the government’s Operation Yellowhammer documents, parts of which were leaked to the media in mid-August.

Yellowhammer is the codename used by the Treasury for cross-government civil contingency planning in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Based on the partial leak of Yellowhammer documents in mid-August, and other reliable data, here is a list of five core expected Brexit-related shortages and difficulties in order of importance:

  1.  Food: according to Yellowhammer, critical elements in certain food supply chains (such as ingredients, chemicals and packaging) will be adversely affected, leading to higher prices, but not necessarily shortages. The supply of some types of fresh/perishable foods is expected to decrease, but not hugely.
  2. Medicines: due to expected disruption at the Channel Border Crossing Point with France, there will be a significant impact on the importation of medicine and medical supplies, at least for six months.
  3. Fuel: no-deal Brexit means the imposition of tariffs on many essential goods and supplies, notably petrol. But in this vital area it will be UK petrol exports to the European Union (EU) which will become uncompetitive due to the imposition of tariffs. This may lead to the closure of two British oil refineries, with the predicted loss of 2,000 jobs.
  4. Transportation: there is widely expected to be significant disruption at the Channel Crossing Point with France. The disruption is expected to last three months and may affect 85 percent of lorries travelling across the Channel in both directions.
  5. Immigration: in the immediate aftermath of Brexit there are likely to be stepped up immigration checks both in Britain and on the continent. What is less certain is the mid to long-term consequences, especially in relation to the status of British expatriates living in EU countries and vice versa.  

This list is not exhaustive and, crucially, it does not include long-term political and strategic issues, notably the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. A no-deal Brexit will almost certainly lead to the return of a “hard” border between the Republic and British-controlled Northern Ireland.

In terms of the Irish question, the political and strategic consequences of a “hard” border are difficult to calculate at this stage, but the return of border controls will at minimum strengthen calls for Irish unity and the end of British rule in Northern Ireland. 

As the UK Parliament scrambles in an attempt to make heads or tails of the apparently insurmountable Brexit crisis, public systems, such as the National Health Service and the security apparatuses, have been put on the backburner.

British MPs from across the political spectrum have been given very little time after returning from their summer break to find ways of stopping Boris Johnson’s no-deal package from going through.

Meanwhile, the Government threatened Conservative MPs that they would not be reelected as candidates in any future election if they oppose its Brexit strategy.

With all the drama, members of parliament must consider treating legislation on public services, on which every Briton relies, as of lesser importance.

Britons have surely understood that the economic and political freedoms they had been promised, and had hoped for during the 2016 Brexit vote, have been bastardized into a future of uncertainty under Johnson’s push for a no-deal Brexit.

Government workers have also realized that budgets have been slashed under austerity while coupled with a rise in demand for services, and the outlook is further worsened by the impending Brexit chaos.

According to health tech leaders, the NHS is living “in the dark ages” when it comes to technology, while outpatient services “would still be recognized” by Victorian doctors.

Initially, Boris Johnson made the NHS central to his first weeks in office, alongside his other “people’s priorities” of crime and schools.

But, critics now say that Boris Johnson’s crime fighting crusade is just vote-winning spin for a possible general election.

Emergency and Public Services have planned their moves in case a no-deal goes through, but who will now help these very services whilst the debate in Parliament continues? Will they be used as bargaining chips in the next rounds of the Brexit saga?

ME

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